Modern Ohkay Owingeh Pottery Jar with Designs


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Once Known Native American Potter

This amazingly interesting small jar was created at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo in the 1930s during the revival of pottery designs from prehistoric times. The band of designs encircling the jar appear as glyphs of triangular, curve, and other interesting shapes. The rim is matte red clay and so is the lower half of the jar.

In the mid-1930s, potters at what was then known as San Juan Pueblo chose to create a pottery style to appeal to a buying public. They modeled their new style on their ancestral pottery known as Potsuwi'i Incised.

Potsuwi'i Incised pottery jars were originally produced between 1400 and 1600 A.D. The style returned around 1930, when a group of Ohkay Owingeh potters became inspired by the growing popularity of pottery made at nearby Tewa pueblos. Regina Cata organized a pottery study group to determine a means of reviving pottery production. Eight potters studied ancient potsherds from wares made in northern Rio Grande pueblos in earlier times. They ultimately selected Potsuwi'i Incised ware as the basis for a contemporary pottery type. This style was originally practiced by Tewa-speaking people, so these enterprising Ohkay Owingeh potters were selecting a style that is ancestral to their tribe. This new style was eagerly accepted by collectors and has remained a signature style of the pueblo for the last 90 years.

As time passed, Potsuwi'i Incised revival pottery evolved, eventually featuring increasingly complex designs, additional color variations, and other modern adornments. This piece stands as a strong example of the beginning of the revival period when the wares looked more like the original prehistoric pieces.

Condition: small slip crack on underside and a minor chip at the rim

Provenance: this Modern Ohkay Owingeh Pottery Jar with Designs is from the estate of Mary Louise Mark (1878-1972) of Westerville, Ohio, who was a Professor of Sociology and Statistics at Ohio State University.

Recommended Reading: Pueblo Pottery of the New Mexico Indians: Ever Constant, Ever Changing by Betty Toulouse

TAGS: Southwest Indian PotterySan Juan Pueblo

Alternate view of this pottery vessel.

Once Known Native American Potter
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